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  1. #1
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    Default Saved money not on dining plan

    I used dining plan for every trip until this one. I kept track of what we spent last trip. I bought gift cards for 300 dollars less and as I finish our trip we ate what we wanted and saved 300 dollars not using dining plan.

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  3. #2
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    Jul 2001
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    We did the same exercise a few years ago and came to the same conclusion.
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    faline@intercot.com

  4. #3
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    Nov 2006
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    Same here. Used the plan several times. The last two trips without. We ate at the same restaurants we would have eaten if we had the plan and spent a lot less money. The plan was different when it first came out and the appetizer and tip was included. Different story now.
    2003- Oct.-Carribean Beach Resort
    2006- Oct/Nov.-Carribean Beach Resort
    2007-Nov.- POFQ
    2008-Nov.- POFQ
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  5. #4
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    Us too! We got the DP when it first came out and found it was way too much food. This trip I'm getting gift cards for dining expenses so everything is paid for up front. The kids will even have their own cards for snacks!
    Poly 3/97, Poly 1/98, Poly 2/99, Poly 2/00, Poly 9/03,
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  6. #5
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    We last bought the DP several years ago (when it included apps and gratuity) when it cost less than it does now. I think it was $39.95 per adult per night. While we enjoyed it, it was WAY TOO MUCH food, more than we would have ever ordered paying OOP.

    On our next trip after that we paid OOP for food, ordered only what we wanted to eat and spent $600 less during our 7 night stay (family of 4) (hotel and park passes were the same as before). WE only had 3 TS meals instead of 7, but otherwise ate whatever we wanted.
    1971 (age 15) MK was new!
    1974 off-site (Senior Trip)
    1982 off-site
    1988 off-site
    May 2002 AS-Sports, with DW & kids
    May 2004 Pop Century
    Feb 2005 Wilderness Lodge
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    Dec 2014 POFQ for Christmas!

  7. #6
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    Jul 2010
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    We are ditching the DP for TIW for the first time this weekend for a quick 3 night trip, if it works out like I think it will we will be doing the same for our 10 day trip in Sept.
    Sep '15 - VWL/3 night Cruise on Dream
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    '10 - AS Music
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    '95 - offsite

  8. #7
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    Sep 2011
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    To the OP, was this strictly table service dining, deluxe, or quick service?
    Disneyland 30+
    * 2000 (Jul) - Off-site * 2003 (Aug) - Contemporary * 2006 (Jul) - Fort Wilderness Cabins * 2009-10 (Dec-Jan) - Caribbean Beach * 2011 (Nov) - POP (13 days!!!) * 2013 (Jul) - Saratoga Springs * 2014 (Jul) Boardwalk Villas * 2015 (Jul) AKV/VWL * 2016 (Jul) OKW

    DVC SSR > Mar-2013

  9. #8
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    Nov 2007
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    We also did the same exercise several years ago. Our second trip together the Regular dinning plan came with our package, we tried it, weren't in love with it but went with it. The next trip we bought the regular dinning plan and kept all our receipts. Calculated when we got home and figured in the dessert costs and snacks that we forced ourselves to get at the end of the trip, and had left two counter service credits behind. The next trip, we budgeted as if we would buy the dinning plan, whatever it was per day per person x amount of days, but we didn't physically purchase the dinning plan, we ate everywhere and whatever we wanted, including Fulton's, Ohanas, etc., we still came home with just about $300.00.

    I guess it depends on everyone's preferences, but I always disagree in my head that people don't think they can eat where and what the want to if it weren't for the dinning plan. We never limit ourselves and we do just fine without it. But, everyone is different I guess.

    Glad it worked out for you, and now you know for future!
    ~*~Tonya~*~

    1st = 1992
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  10. #9
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    I always get the dining plan but I don't think it saves money at all.

    We always end up going during free dining but I don't think I would ever pay for it.

    Most of the time we get the most expensive thing on the menu to make it "worth it" but it never is.
    Too many trips to count!
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    I have stayed at: All Star Movies, All Star Music, Pop Century, Art of Animation, Port Orleans Riverside, Caribbean Beach Resort, Saratoga Springs Resort

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHD View Post
    To the OP, was this strictly table service dining, deluxe, or quick service?
    Based on the savings, I'm going to assume Regular TS Dining Plan.

    There is NO way you could save $300 on the QS plan, unless you just don't eat.
    Natalie
    INTERCOT Staff: Disneyland Resort-California, The Water Cooler

  12. #11
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    Mar 2002
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    Excellent post and thanks for everyone's thoughts. We have only used the DP when it was free, but our next trip will be with 7 adults and may not include free dining.
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  13. #12
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    Once you go Tables in Wonderland, you never go back.
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  14. #13
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    Our last few trips we have had the free dining. If free dining was not offered we'd just pay out of pocket. It would be cheaper for us to go that way for sure

    18 Previous Visits

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  15. #14
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    The DP is usually a better deal when you have several 3-9 yr olds, and do character meals--thats what we found when we priced it out.
    First visit: Feb. 1989
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  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrerGnat View Post
    Based on the savings, I'm going to assume Regular TS Dining Plan.

    There is NO way you could save $300 on the QS plan, unless you just don't eat.
    Yeah, that's what I figured at least.
    Disneyland 30+
    * 2000 (Jul) - Off-site * 2003 (Aug) - Contemporary * 2006 (Jul) - Fort Wilderness Cabins * 2009-10 (Dec-Jan) - Caribbean Beach * 2011 (Nov) - POP (13 days!!!) * 2013 (Jul) - Saratoga Springs * 2014 (Jul) Boardwalk Villas * 2015 (Jul) AKV/VWL * 2016 (Jul) OKW

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  17. #16
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    When the dining plan first came out and you were able to get an appetizer, entree and dessert, the plan was worth it. With the changes over the last few years it makes even less sense for us to purchase it. I do understand the folks who like to prepay dining so they don't have to budget while down there. But you have to really crunch the numbers and come up with the answer like the OP did.

    We are not really a dessert family so the "new" plan does not work for us. Since we typically get the TiW card, we find that we can eat how we want and not the "Disney" way. The plan simply put is not for us.
    Brian (aka CanadianWDWFan)
    INTERCOT Staff:Theme Parks, The Water Cooler & Trip Reports
    DVC-BWV
    Next Trip:
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  18. #17
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    I think maybe I should use the words "spent less" on food when paying out of pocket, rather than "saved" since we were not buying the same amount of food or eating as many TS meals, as we did when we purchased the DP. The simple fact is: we spend less money at Dsiney on food when we pay OOP. My guess is that the vast majority of guests do the same.

    Disney knows this, which is exactly why they market it so aggressively. The DP may sound like a good deal when compared to what you would pay for the same food, but the bottom line is that it makes guests spend more money on food. Food and drink sales make high profits for Disney.
    1971 (age 15) MK was new!
    1974 off-site (Senior Trip)
    1982 off-site
    1988 off-site
    May 2002 AS-Sports, with DW & kids
    May 2004 Pop Century
    Feb 2005 Wilderness Lodge
    Oct 2006 Pop Century
    Oct 2008 Camped at Fort Wilderness
    Feb 2010 Cruise on the Wonder
    Dec 2014 POFQ for Christmas!

  19. #18
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    Sep 2003
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    Wisconsin
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    Yes, I think that is exactly it. We have had free dining for several trips - including our Sept trip coming up. We like it because we would never eat as many TS meals as we do with the DDP. We like to eat at all our favorites plus new places which is part of the fun of our trip. However, if we weren't on the DDP, then we'd probably only feel like we could do half the TS we do now.
    POFQ 09/2013, 09/2014, 09/2015
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  20. #19
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    Apr 2005
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    Loved it when it first came out and saved a ton. Havenít done it in years.

    I was very suspicious of "mission creep" with what i percieved as the (agreeably cynical) end goal of offering the "value of convenience" over any economic value.

    Its posts like these that solidify, and justify, my early concerns.

    This was never about saving money, it was about insuring we spent our money nowhere else.


    '76 offsite, '90 offsite, '03 Courtyard DTD, '04 offsite, '05 CBR, '05 POFQ solo, '06 Sports solo, '06 POFQ, '07 Pop, '09 offsite solo, '09 POFQ, '09 Music, '10 CS, '11 Pop, '12 Pop, '13 dolphin.

  21. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDisney View Post
    Our last few trips we have had the free dining. If free dining was not offered we'd just pay out of pocket. It would be cheaper for us to go that way for sure
    This is my philosophy as well. First time we did it, we paid OOP (probably 10+ years ago) but it included the appetizers and gratuity. Our most recent two trips 2010/2012 we had free dining, which for us, a family of 5 (one kid treated as adult) it was too good of a "free" value to pass up in favor of any room discount.

    That said, if we were to go down when free dining isn't offered, we'd definitely pay OOP and I don't think I'd think twice about it. If on our next trip its offered with a room discount as a counter option, I'd think heavily about the room discount.

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